Chapter 3: Xu Jingming and Li Miaomiao (1)
“Who did I offend” Xu Jingming asked.
Fang Xinglong looked at Xu Jingming and gave a name: “Cheng Zihao.”
Xu Jingming immediately understood what was happening and asked calmly, “Senior Brother, did he talk to you”
“Yes.” Fang Xinglong nodded.
Xu Jingming nodded. “I did cross him.”
“Youre a professional martial artist—you joined the provincial team in high school and then the national team. Youve been in the professional martial arts circle for so many years. How did you cross Cheng Zihao” Fang Xinglong found it incomprehensible since both parties werent in the same circles at all.
Xu Jingming smiled. “Life is full of endless possibilities.”
“Cut the smiling act.” Fang Xinglong was a little worried. “Cant you resolve your conflict with him”
“No.” Xu Jingming shook his head.
Fang Xinglong put out the cigarette in his hand and glanced at his junior brother. “Jingming, thats Cheng Zihao! If you offend him, youll suffer a ban on the Internet!”
“I know; its the Cheng family!” Xu Jingming sighed with emotion. “The Cheng family controls the Tiger Shark Group, a company with a market capitalization of more than five trillion. Its one of the top three Internet companies, and its indeed scary.”
The Cheng family was one of the top ten richest families in China; their family wealth exceeded 500 billion. The number one live-streaming platform in China,Tiger Shark, was established more than 60 years ago by a legendary figure of the Cheng family, Cheng Yunxiu. The Tiger Shark Group hadnt declined after six decades and had instead grown stronger. It had grown into an internet giant conglomerate with Tiger Shark Platform as its core business. It had its hands in e-commerce, music, gaming, and many other industries. Of Tiger Shark Groups market capitalization that exceeded five trillion, the founders—the Cheng family—had 8.2% of the outstanding shares. Furthermore, they had more than 50% of the voting rights, allowing them to have a firm grasp of Tiger Shark Group.
The Tiger Shark Group had been under the control of its founder, Cheng Yunxiu, for 30 years. After his death, it was managed by his only son, Cheng Liwei.
Cheng Zihao was Cheng Liweis son, aged 32.
“On the Internet, the Tiger Shark Group is one of the top three mega-corporations. It is also the number one live-stream platform. As a martial artist, you have no idea how terrifying its influence is.” Fang Xinglong looked at his junior brother anxiously.
“Of course, I know,” Xu Jingming said with a smile. “After being banned, I wont be able to carry out any commercial activities, and I wont receive any publicity on the Internet. My fame will also evaporate quickly.”
For martial artists, fame was very important. The more famous one was, the higher the income.
In terms of results at martial arts competitions, although Xu Jingming was quite strong, he was only considered a C-lister among the top martial artists in the history of China! His master—Liu Hai, who was legendary—was considered an A-lister. After all, he had been in the top three for five consecutive tournaments while in his forties and had even been the worlds number one.
There were three A-listers, and each of them was a legend. Their appearance fee for a match between titans was over 100 million, and the cumulative income from their careers was even more terrifying.
Historical top players—B-listers—either had been in the top three globally or were those that had retired after scraping first place. They were often mentioned by people. The appearance fee for matches between greats was usually over ten million.
Xu Jingming had made it into the World Martial Arts Tournament twice—placing in the top sixteen once and the top eight once. The highest appearance fee was only 1.5 million, and his highest income was still the prize money for entering the World Martial Arts Tournaments top eight. After working hard for so many years, he had only accumulated a balance of about eight digits.
Income was a proxy for strength and status.
In terms of results, he was a C-lister in China. In terms of fame His fame would rapidly vanish once he was banned on the Internet.
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“Gladiators also need to put food on the table. Sometimes, its better to compromise,” Fang Xinglong persuaded.
“Senior Brother,” Xu Jingming said seriously, “you know that there are some things where a compromise is impossible.”
Fang Xinglong was taken aback, but he nodded slightly and said worriedly, “Banning you is a small matter. Im afraid Cheng Zihao will come after you.”
Xu Jingming smiled and said, “At most, Ill go back to my hometown, Mingyue City. In Mingyue City, there are over a thousand disciples from the Eight Extremities Sect and the Poking Foot Sect. Lets see how hes going to make trouble for me. Besides, there are surveillance cameras everywhere in this modern-day society. What can he do”
“Then, what do you plan on doing back in Mingyue City” Fang Xinglong asked.
“If I open a center and do some high-end private teaching, I wont starve,” Xu Jingming said. “Im the Spear Demon after all. I rely on my skills to make a living; I wont starve anywhere.”
Fang Xinglong shook his head. “In a second-tier city like Mingyue City, its already good enough that you can earn a million a year.”
“Ive earned a lot over the years, so theres plenty of interest and dividend income,” Xu Jingming said. “Senior Brother, dont worry about me.”
Xu Jingming was mentally prepared after falling out with Cheng Zihao.
He would just earn less.
He had been influenced by his father since he was a child and had become a disciple of the Eight Extremities Sect and Poking Foot Sect, two great traditional martial art schools in Mingyue City. Ever since the World Martial Arts Tournament became the worlds largest martial arts tournament, the traditional martial arts schools in the country regained their former fame. All kinds of weapons and fighting techniques gained a new lease of life.
In modern society, it was fine for people to join several sects as disciples.
Xu Jingmings father was a martial arts blogger when he was young; he traveled the world and visited all the martial arts schools in the world. He had joined more than ten martial arts schools domestically and had even inherited the teachings of the Eight Extremities lineage. After settling down in Mingyue City, he even founded the Eight Extremities Sect in Mingyue City.
There were many martial arts schools all over the country in modern society. Eight Extremities Sect—which had an unbroken heritage—had hundreds around the country.
Xu Jingming was the heir of Mingyue Citys Eight Extremities Sect, and he was also the disciple of Mingyue Citys Poking Foot Sects sect master! He could open a martial arts school and accept disciples or do some private tutoring to earn a living.
Perhaps itll be more suitable for me to go back to my hometown and focus on practicing my spearmanship. If I can attain a higher level, I can make a comeback and become the worlds number one, Xu Jingming thought.
He had never given up on his dream of becoming world champion. His master, Liu Hai, had entered the World Martial Arts Tournament five times in a row even though he was in his forties, and he eventually managed to become the worlds number one.
He was only 29 this year, so how could he give up
If he became world champion, the prize money for coming in first would be 500 million; he would also attract the attention of the entire world. The official media would cover him, and it wasnt something Cheng Zihao could dismiss.
As for now He was a retired professional gladiator. There was nothing he could do about being banned without achievements to speak of.
“Senior Brother, what did Cheng Zihao say to you” Xu Jingming looked at Fang Xinglong.
“Cheng Zihao asked someone to pass on a message to me, asking me to fire you.” Fang Xinglong was ashamed. “Jingming, you know that I sell alcohol. Some of the sales channels are on Tiger Shark Groups live-streaming and e-commerce platforms. Moreover, a lot of publicity has to be done through the Tiger Shark Group. Although I feel aggrieved, I cant afford to offend Cheng Zihao. After all, the company doesnt belong to me alone.”
“Senior Brother, I know your predicament.” Xu Jingming nodded.
He relied on his skills to make a living. With his skills as one of the top spearmen in the world in the past three decades, he wasnt afraid of starving. It was just a matter of having more or less to eat.
However, Fang Xinglong was a businessman, and the alcohol company was the foundation of his business career. His options were limited in the face of the Tiger Shark Group.
“Ill leave after the training for the provincial team ends,” Xu Jingming said.
Fang Xinglong was a little tired. “Can you tell me about your conflict with Cheng Zihao”
“I dont want to say.” Xu Jingming shook his head. “I can only say that hes crazy!”
“Crazy” Fang Xinglong fell into thought as he nodded slightly. “Alright, I wont say anything more. Im sorry for letting you down.”
“Its not on you, but me.” Xu Jingming knew Fang Xinglong very well. He was straightforward and sincere, and his character was unquestionable. Otherwise, he wouldnt have accepted Fang Xinglongs invitation to be the head of this center.
“Senior Brother, Im scheduled to have a meal with Chongyuan, so Ill make a move first. We can talk over the phone,” Xu Jingming said with a smile and left.
Fang Xinglong stood still and watched Xu Jingming leave.
“Cheng Zihao,” Fang Xinglong whispered to himself. He did business and became a billionaire at the age of 40, so he was very proud of himself. He loved martial arts, weapons, and combat. For his hobby, he had spent a lot of money to build the Cosmos Center. How could he not be angry at Cheng Zihaos request to fire his junior brother
I cant afford to offend him, Fang Xinglong muttered silently and held his breath. He needed to know when to quit, a lesson he learned from his years in the business world. It was just that with his current status, it was rare for him to feel so aggrieved.
Cheng Zihao, if you dont follow the rules and play dirty, you will stumble one day, Fang Xinglong thought to himself.
Fang Xinglong was also thinking about how he could help his junior brother. He had less than ten friends that he thought highly of, and Xu Jingming was one of them. Naturally, he didnt want to see his junior brother suffer so much.
Under the hazy night, Xu Jingming pushed open the door and entered a terrace villa in the eastern suburbs of Binhai City.
In the bedroom, a slender woman in pajamas was slumped against the backrest and wore a pair of rather large glasses. She held a controller in each hand.
“Jingming, wait for me to finish this game.” The girl in pajamas had a pair of spirited eyes. Her glasses were virtual glasses that had immersion mode and reality mode.
Reality mode lowered the opacity of the games imagery, allowing one to see the outside world.
“Miaomiao, you need to exercise more. Its not good for your body to lie down all day,” Xu Jingming said.
“Alright, got it,” the woman in pajamas answered casually, her hands moving non-stop.
Xu Jingming felt helpless.
This woman in pajamas was his girlfriend, Li Miaomiao.